Since the launch of summer tire models by global manufacturers, there have already been a huge number of all sorts of tire tests of different price, quality and size characteristics. Today we would like to summarize the results for the 2021 tire ladder, highlighting the most iconic new products both among American and European as well as Asian brands. In this review, we’ll look at both the major trends seen in new tires and tire models from 20 global manufacturers, and mention more than one new product from each of them. We’ll also mention little-known private brands. But, about everything in order.
So, this article will cover the 2021 summer tire models from 20 global brands, namely: Apollo Tyres, Bridgestone, Chong Shin Rubber, Continental AG, Giti, Goodyear, Hankook Tire, Kenda, Keskin Europa, Kumho Tires/Doublestar Group, Michelin Group, Nexen Tire, Nokian Tyres, Oak Group, Pirelli, Shandong Linglong Tire, Sichuan Haida Rubber Group, Toyo, Triangle Group, Yokohama Rubber, ZC Rubber.
Features and Trends of the Tire Industry in 2021
The year 2021, like 2020, passed under the dark flag of pandemic and economic crisis. The tire industry is no exception, and we can see a decline in new models and tire manufacturers in virtually all price segments – from luxury and premium to super budget. European tire brands dropped the most in the last year, with an average of 15%, while companies from Asia kept the blow, showing on average half as much loss in the reports, but still showing it. Another unpleasant aspect of the last year is the difficulties in shipping. Shipping containers and delivery disruptions have created quite a few problems for many manufacturers.
Today, companies are mainly focused on stabilizing finances and production, and there are not enough material and human resources to produce new models.
The crisis obviously did not motivate the companies to show the new models, so some of them even postponed their presentations publicly until 2022 with the expectation of an economic recovery.
Overall, looking at the new 2021 summer tires from the world manufacturers, it is worth noting two trends this year. Firstly, the big manufacturers have concentrated on high performance (UHP) models as the most profitable.
Secondly, there are more and more tires designed for electric cars, which are rapidly gaining popularity. So far, the differences of such models are mostly marketing ones: sometimes tires are simply prefixed with EV in the name and the words “suitable for electric cars”. And sometimes such models have clear accents on fuel efficiency and lower noise levels in their design and construction. Plus the Eco prefix also does its job.
Manufacturers of budget tires begin to make their models more and more similar to the tires of premium brands, this concerns both the appearance and advertising campaigns. Regarding the technical characteristics, the people’s brands still do not reach the premium ones, which is clearly visible from the results of numerous tests by various expert teams.
So, let’s take a closer look at each of the 20 manufacturers stated above and pay attention to the most interesting new products.
Let’s start our review with one of the world’s most famous brands in the tire industry. In 2021 the Iconic brand Michelin is betting on sustainability and following all the current global trends. Supporting and helping to save the environment has been a major theme for the past few years. Electric cars and eco-friendly car tires, that’s what Michelin is betting on. In Europe, the company released Pilot Sport EV and e.Primacy models, at the same time the release of summer all-season Michelin CrossClimate 2 started in the U.S. market.
It is worth to tell separately about Michelin e.Primacy, as these tires have already become a part of the history, as the most eco-friendly tires, produced by the brand during its long history. The materials and construction used in them “minimize the impact” on the environment during the whole life cycle, starting from the initial production stage. The tires are suitable for installation on passenger cars and compact SUVs with both internal combustion engines and hybrid and electric ones.
According to the European Tire Label System, the Michelin e.Primacy is rated “A” for energy efficiency and “B” for wet grip.
The second summer novelty for 2021 is the Michelin Pilot Sport EV. These tires were created for electric sports cars, based on Michelin’s experience in Formula E. The main feature of this model is an effective transmission of the electric motor’s high torque and increased autonomy.
The most interesting, in our opinion, novelty Michelin 2021 was presented in the USA. It is Cross Climate, a summer all-season tire. Both Cross Climate and the latest Cross Climate 2 are available in the North American market today but are not yet available in the European or Asian markets.
Michelin 2021 updates have also touched on Michelin’s subsidiary brand, Kleber, and the moto tire segment.
A motorcycle novelty presented by the French tire manufacturer on the European market in 2021 is the Road Classic line, which includes models for motorcycles with rims measuring 17-19 inches. These tires are suitable for both classic and modern bikes and replace the legendary Michelin Pilot Activ line. Road Classic perfectly combines the classic design and the latest technological innovations.
As for the affiliated brands of the French manufacturer, the most noticeable novelty is in Kleber. Kleber Dynaxer SUV tires, the main characteristics of which are noise reduction and increased driving comfort of urban SUVs in daily use. They also have long mileage and high fuel efficiency.
In 2021, Goodyear added just two models to its core brand in Europe, but in North America, the brand launched three new models of the Wrangler family. In addition to the five new main brand models, the company also launched the Dunlop Econodrive LT, a light-duty model of its subsidiary Dunlop.
The EfficientGrip 2 SUV, based on the Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2 released in 2020, is available in sizes 16″-20″. These tires are perfect for urban SUVs. The most significant difference between the EfficientGrip 2 SUV and the previous model in the range is the 25% longer mileage.
With the new Goodyear EfficientGrip Cargo 2 commercial tires (14C – 17C) the focus was on improved durability (+38%) and wet braking performance (+8%).
Externally, the new model does not differ from the EfficientGrip Cargo. The changes in its performance properties are due to the use of a new rubber compound.
Another light-duty model, this time from a daughter brand, is available on the European market together with Dunlop Econodrive tires, designed for rims with large planting diameters. The Dunlop Econodrive LT (14C – 16C) premium commercial summer tires with an optimized design, a wear-resistant rubber compound, and a solid carcass promise longevity, fuel efficiency and confident behavior on wet and dry roads.
At the same time, Goodyear unveiled three Wrangler models in its home North American market: the Wrangler Workhorse HT, AT, and RT, perfect for America’s favorite pickups and SUVs.
German tire manufacturer Continental did not please its fans with novelties this year. New summer tires from the legendary brand are expected only in the season of 2022, at the moment the company only renewed last year’s EcoContact, which deserved not the best reputation among the world’s experts and users. Also, the company has released a new product under its subsidiary brand, General.
Also at the beginning of this year it became known that the tires Sport Contact 7 in some sizes are already homologated by several car manufacturers, and even from this spring tires are delivered for the first assembly. Interestingly, the manufacturer did not publish any announcements and comments about the seventh generation SportContact.
Last summer the German concern presented Continental EcoContact 6Q tires in sizes 17″-18″. Compared to its predecessor model, their noise level was significantly reduced, which, by the way, follows from the name, because Q stands for “Quiet”. Initially, the EcoContact 6Qs were aimed at the first-time kit, where other selection principles apply but are now also found in the aftermarket.
By 2021, an improved version of the Grabber GT model for SUVs is available for sale. The new General Grabber GT Plus (17″-20″), produced by one of Continental’s sister brands, features a 12% improvement in rolling resistance and a 5% increase in rideability. The developers also managed to improve tire performance in various weather conditions. In particular, the handling and braking properties on dry asphalt became better, and the Grabber GT Plus received a Euro Label System “A” classification for wet grip in all available sizes.
Finnish tire manufacturer Nokian has introduced five new products for 2021. One of them is studded winter tires, and four summer models: the Nokian Hakka Green 3, the light-duty Hakka Van, and two budget models Nordman SZ2 and Nordman S2 SUV.
The top tires for the company this year are the Hakka Green 3, available in sizes 13″ -18″. This model, like its predecessor, the Hakka Green 2, focuses primarily on markets in Eastern Europe and Russia. As for the Western European market, Nokian has released two more summer tire models – Powerproof and Wetproof.
The Nokian Hakka Green 3 has an improved rubber compound and an optimized tread pattern with enlarged blocks compared to its predecessor. According to the company, the most important difference between the Hakka Green 3 and the Hakka Green 2 is the tire’s service life, which has been increased by more than 30%.
The Nokian Hakka Van, which is available in sizes 14″ to 18″ for owners of light-duty trucks and campers, will be available for the summer season of 2021, focusing on lower fuel consumption and long-term use.
Another new product from the Scandinavian tire manufacturer is the Nordman budget line. The Nokian Nordman SZ2 (16″-20″) passenger UHP tires offer precise handling and good feedback, as well as easy control even at high speeds.
The first generation Nordman SZ was produced with two tread patterns (for speed indexes V and W respectively), but it seems that with the Nordman SZ2 such maneuvers have been avoided, there will be less confusion for buyers.
Nokian Nordman S2 SUV is a summer tire for urban SUVs, replacing the Nordman S SUV in the lineup. Improvements have been made for them on several fronts at once: from traction properties in different summer weather to fuel efficiency and ride comfort.
The Nordman S2 SUVs belong to the Highway Performance class, i.e. they are designed primarily for road use, but they can also be driven occasionally on light off-road terrain.
Japanese premium brand Yokohama Rubber has not introduced as many new models as other Asian brands this year, but from the only premiere of the summer 2021 season, Yokohama Advan Sport V107 was one of the most anticipated in the global tire industry. Judging by the almost perfect predecessor of this model, Yokohama Advan Sport V105, the updated version should become the standard tire for premium cars.
Today, these tires are available in the primary package for luxury cars such as the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 4MATIC +, for example. Which already says a lot.
As the representatives of the Japanese tire company explain Advan Sport V107 improved already excellent running properties of its Advan Sport V105 predecessor. The safety and comfort of the summer UHP novelty remained at the level of V105. A truly grandiose update.
The famous Japanese tire manufacturer has updated its product range in 2021 with high-performance tires of the Potenza line and a couple of new models of motor tires. Bridgestone Potenza Sport is the new flagship model, which replaced the not unknown UHP-development Potenza S001. Even before its appearance in the retail, it has already been homologated for supercars Maserati MS20, Lamborghini Huracan STO, and BMW 8 Series.
Not without too much modesty, Bridgestone declares that Potenza Sport, available in sizes 17″-22″, provide “the best performance in its class on a dry surface, as well as the combination of excellent performance on wet asphalt. But so far, this manufacturer’s claim is not backed up by independent test results.
Motorcycle owners may be interested in presented in the middle of last summer season two new models: sport Battlax Hypersport S22 with excellent traction and handling in the dry and touring Battlax Sport Touring T31, designed to increase safety riding even in adverse conditions such as rain or changes in the road surface.
For its Japanese home market, Bridgestone has created the premium crossover model Alenza LX100, representing the “comfort” class.
The legendary Italian brand Pirelli, which is now almost entirely owned by the Chinese concern ChemChina, did not particularly distinguish itself in 2021, and for the summer season presented only one new line. But as we all know, quality is more important than quantity, so let’s take a closer look.
Pirelli’s summer novelty for 2021 is the Powergy line – a series of urban tires, designed for summer driving conditions. The Powergy focuses on ride safety and comfort, which is probably the most important thing for urban travel. It is also impossible not to mention the energy efficiency of the new model from Pirelli. The Pirelli Powergy size range (13″-18″) covers midsize and large sedans as well as crossovers and SUVs. The new tires replace the P Zero Nero GT in the lineup, which has always been rated consistently good by global auto experts. So, the Powergy, which replaces the Zero Nero, should perform even better.
Renowned Toyo Tire Company has introduced several new tire models for the summer season of 2021. These include comfort-oriented Proxes Comfort, high-performance Proxes Sport A, and premium Proxes CR1 and Proxes CR1 SUV, available only for Asia-Pacific countries.
Let’s start with the Toyo Proxes Comfort tires, available in 14″-20″ sizes. The Toyo company has developed this model as a tire of increased comfort for everyday driving in urban conditions. They are characterized by good stability at speed, strong handling, and effective braking, which, combined with a quiet and comfortable driving experience, makes these tires one of the most effective all-purpose tires on the market, the manufacturer claims. However, there is no expert confirmation of these characteristics, they have not yet had time to take part in tests.
Another Toyo Proxes Sport A is the latest product with ultra-high performance in the Proxes line. In comparison with the Proxes Sport model, it offers better controllability at high speeds and a better grip on wet surfaces. The tires of this model are available in sizes 17″-20″.
Toyo has refreshed its summer range for the Asia-Pacific region with the Proxes CR1 and Proxes CR1 SUV premium tires.
2021 can confidently be called a successful year for Maxxis. Even though the brand released one iconic new product, Maxxis Victra Sport 5 SUV, it has already managed to get a lot of positive feedback from the world’s leading automotive experts, having perfectly shown itself in tests of summer tires. Especially worth noting not only the unique bionic design rubber but also brought to perfection such characteristics of the model as traction on sand and resistance to transverse aquaplaning. A more than worthy continuation of the already legendary Maxxis Victra Sport 5 line, which saw the light in 2018.
One of the leaders of the Asian market, South Korea’s Nexen Tire, in 2021 has made an emphasis on SUVs, introducing the summer SUV version of the N’Fera Sport tire model, which is familiar to many since 2018 and has earned a very good reputation. Nexen N’Fera Sport SUV tires are positioned as a replacement for the N’Fera RU1. This model has a completely unique tread pattern that is not just visually cool, but also provides better directional stability and safety when performing various kinds of maneuvers.
If for the European and American markets Nexen created N’Fera Sport SUV, then for the native Asian the company also had a surprise for summer 2021. N’Fera Prímus QX tires are premium sports tires for luxury cars. Definitely worthy of the attention of the most pampered car owners.
For the Indian tire manufacturer Apollo the year 2021 started very successfully. The brand’s tire models have performed well in various tests, and the number of the company’s new products is one of the biggest this year. This year Apollo introduced six new tire models, and almost all of them were released for the European market. So, these are models Vredestein Ultrac, Apollo Amazer XP, high-performance Vredestein Ultrac Vorti+, Vredestein Ultrac Vorti R+, commercial Vredestein Comtrac 2, and Apollo Altrust+.
Let’s start with the Vredestein Ultrac. These are summer tires for compact and family cars, available in sizes 15″-18″. The main characteristic of the model is its economy. Plus, the tires are very good on both dry and wet surfaces and are quieter.
The second novelty from the subsidiary brand of the Indian company is UHP-Tires Vredestein Ultrac Vorti+. Their drawing is identical to the previous model, but they have much more technical characteristics. The side area is increased by 13%, which greatly improves the performance of the rubber. It is noteworthy that the model is included in the factory equipment of the original Breadvan Hommage supercars, based on the Ferrari 550 Maranello. There is one more “plus” model Vredestein Ultrac Vorti R+ in the nearest future. Not much is known about this model yet.
One more novelty from Apollo Commercial tires Vredestein Comtrac 2, available in sizes 15-17″. The new Apollo replaces the Comtrac model in every way. Wet grip is 20% better, rolling resistance is 15% lower and handling on dry surfaces is the same 15% better. Quite impressive progress. It should be noted, however, that data on service life is not included in the manufacturer’s report.
Model Apollo Altrust+, available in sizes 15″-16″, created for light trucks and minivans. For these tires, the company used an innovative rubber, which has been improved their fuel efficiency, walkability, and stability during braking.
Also in 2021 Apollo introduced the fuel-efficient Amazer XP, which features extremely low rolling resistance and meets the BS-VI standard, India’s equivalent to Euro 6. It is excellent for use on electric cars, which is very relevant lately.
Asian brands are clearly leading the way in 2021 in terms of the number of new products in the segment of summer tires. Singapore’s Giti was no exception, which released six new products at once this season. However, this figure also includes models produced by the company and for its subsidiary brand, GT Radial.
This year, Giti presented both models to replace the slightly outdated brand tires of the past years and brand new tires. For example, the GitiSynery H2 tire for passenger cars and light trucks, which features superior grip properties on all types of surfaces. According to the European Tire Label System, GitiSynergy H2 gets the highest rating — “A/A”.
GT Radial SportActive2, the replacement tire for sports cars, outperformed its predecessor with a 15% improvement in wet braking and a 10% improvement in aquaplaning resistance. Also, the new Tires from Giti, which, by the way, are available in sizes 16″-19″, have low noise levels and dust-free increased mileage. The model is also available for vehicles with a high center of gravity and is appropriately named GT Radial SportActive 2 SUV (19″-20″).
But that’s not all novelties. For summer 2021, Giti has also prepared models in a fairly affordable price segment – the GT Radial Champiro FE2 (15″-18″) and GT Radial Champiro FE2 SUV (16″-18″). The former is designed for passenger cars and the latter for compact SUVs.
And the latest innovation from Giti, the GitiVan HD1 was not left out. These tires were designed for light-duty trucks, and they were included in the list authorized by the German concern Volkswagen.
This year has been clearly very successful for the Singaporean manufacturer. Absolutely all novelties of the brand received the highest grade “A” for their traction properties, according to the European Tire Label System.
Kenda is an increasingly popular brand from Taiwan, which in 2021 pleased the European market with a high-performance model of the Kenetica Pro KR210 summer tire, which is suitable for small and medium cars (13″-16″). The new model is an extension of the Emera A1 KR41 range, which is designed for more powerful cars (16″-20″) and retains all of its technical characteristics, which are quite well evaluated by world experts.
Kumbo in 2021 decided to work “out west” by introducing its summer novelties exclusively for the North American market. Thus, a high-performance model Kumho Ecsta V730, suitable for driving on asphalt surfaces as well as off-road, made its debut in the U.S. The idea is that this model was introduced as a replacement for the already well-known and much-loved Kumho Ecsta V720 tire.
Summer Tire Models 2021 from Chinese Brands
Chinese Linglong started actively promoting its updated European range. The company presented the products of the Master line, which includes summer tires Linglong Comfort Master (class HP), Linglong Sports Master (class UHP), and Linglong Grip Master C/S (for off-road). Quite an extensive selection of summer novelties, compared with most global brands. Moreover, it is already known about the company’s plans to produce winter tires Master, but we will talk about them, Dima.
This Chinese manufacturer has pleased us this season with five new products. Presented initially only on the Asian market, the models Chaoyang Arisun 1, Westlake Superide 1, Trazano Transtorm 1, and Goodride Solmax 1 already start their crusade to the west. In any case, the rate of growth and development of this Chinese brand is very impressive. ZC Rubber is clearly following the basic requirements of the modern world, as evidenced by the company’s release of a new eco-friendly model Westlake ZuperEco W018, which was also introduced to the Asian market. The main characteristic of the model is the reduced rolling resistance, which helps a lot in optimizing fuel consumption.
The Triangle ConneX Van TV701 light-duty summer tire outperforms its Mileage Plus TR652 predecessor in terms of safety. This model has a pretty impressive wet braking efficiency that is 13.8% better than the TR652, aquaplaning resistance is superior by 10.3%, and handling is better by 2.1%. Braking properties on dry surfaces were improved by 1.7%. Progress in its purest form, keep it that way.
Some tire models produced by Sichuan Haida Rubber Group are making their way to Europe. It is still unclear whether the Haida HD937 and Mileking MK937 models, which are almost identical, will make it to the European market.
Private Tire Brands
Here the list will be quite short, or rather extremely short. We will tell you about two private European brands that produce tires in two completely different segments.
The innovative brand from Great Britain is still little known on the world market, but is very highly valued by professionals and experts. The Davanti Protura Sport (18″), a UHP tire, has been rumored for at least the last year, and it has finally gone on sale in Europe and Japan.
Thanks to innovations in tread design and a modern rubber compound, the novelty 2021 Protoura Sport summer tires provide optimal performance for powerful sports cars.
But the brand is not very willing to share information, so answers to some questions about the technology remain open. Perhaps this is one of the reasons for the unpopularity of this brand.
This German private tire brand operates in the budget segment of the market. Extremely affordable tire models from the European manufacturer are not very popular at home, as the public there is used to more expensive, premium brands, while Syron is more similar to Chinese labels.
However, the brand keeps releasing new products and in 2021 pleased the industry with two models: eco-friendly wear-resistant Premium Eco and sporty Race 1X, which inherited the design of Race 1 Plus tires, known to fans of speed.
Despite such an impressive total number of new products, the number of truly mainstream summer models that will appear on the international market in 2021 is not so great. Even the winter range of manufacturers has been updated more significantly this year.
But nothing is surprising, and this situation can be simply explained from an economic point of view, because mass inexpensive models have low margins and therefore low profits, and therefore manufacturers have focused their attention on high-performance and premium models. And since 2020 passed under the flag of pandemic and the World Crisis, the financial parameter is the most important for the majority of big companies today. Falling sales and profits is a situation from which manufacturers are trying hard to find a way out.
In their turn, tires of the second echelon brands are steadily gaining a place under the sun in independent European tests, making it clear that competition in business is not a joke. Mass-market tire manufacturers have a lot to gain in 2021 because technology has stepped forward, and from the economic point of view, the stratification between the top brands and the “middles” has narrowed a lot.
Perhaps it makes sense to combine the models of 2020 and 2021 in one category because last year there were significantly more new products, and 2021 is a kind of year out of the crisis, where manufacturers are focused not on the number of different models, but on stabilizing production and sales.